RICHARD L ALEXANDER
“COMMUNITY ERA OF POLICING”
OCTOBER 26, 2012
MODULE 1 ISSUE PAPER
Kelling and Moore in their article “The Evolving Strategy of Policing” state that in the
1970’s police agencies entered into a new organizational strategy known as the
‘Community Era. ‘ They contend we are still in this era in 2012. They further
describe this era as something “new” and “different.” It is through this strategic era
and its employed tactics that police continue their quest of crime control today.
Many argue that this ‘Community Era’ or community policing is either a strategy or
a tactic. It appears to be the combination of the two that make it effective. A
strategy is an idea or plan that tactics, the legs under the idea, implement. Although
community policing was most likely the implementation of a strategy to emphasize
crime control and prevention (Kelling and Moore, 1988) it was the tactics involved
that gave it energy.
Since community policing is a strategy wrapped around civic engagement (Skogan
and Frydl, 2004) many tactics were employed to facilitate. Increased foot patrols
were key in police officers engaging the public. It was through this marketing with
the public (Kelling and Moore, 1988) that a feeling of safety enshrouded the
community. It also assisted immensely in crime solving. Police were given tips
toward the specifics of a crime many times from a direct witness. The crime
stoppers initiative is an excellent example of the reliance on community that law
enforcement needs to solve crime. Further, “marketing” between officers was cited
as a relevant development in community policing. The sharing of information shed
light on cases in which other officers were investigating.
In the same effort to engage with civic marketing many other tactics were
implemented. This included increased counseling for victims and a hastened
response to emergencies (Kelling and Moore, 1988). Officers and community were
better educated on communication and police involvement. Decentralization was
also a key to the community policing strategy (Skogan and Frydl 2004). This placed
community issues directly on beat police and the identification and resolution of
crime issues on mid-level officers (detectives and/or managers). All of these tactics
are keys to the strategy of community policing.
The community police strategy is due in part to a theory entitled “Broken Window”
which elicited a direct response (Wilson and Kelling, 1982). This theory is an easier
concept to see in action today than upon it’s development twenty years ago.
Consider the housing boom and now the current state of housing where many
homes are simply abandoned due to mortgage failures. This theory states that these
houses are vulnerable because of emptiness and being abandoned, and thus, the
entire neighbor hood eventually becomes neglected due to lack of caring. The
theory takes a step further in that by neglecting the small things, i.e., broken
windows, that quality of life deteriorates. One of the responses to this theory is the
development of community policing.
Since there are many tactics police have had to employ, as discussed above, in the
strategy of community policing it is obvious that there are many implications these
have to police. In the age of technology agencies have had to adapt to new
ideas. The creation of the cell phone has caused not only positive but negative
implications in community policing (Wilson and Kelling, 1982). For example, police
are more likely to receive public tips because of the number of citizens that possess
cell phones and their readiness to use (both to communicate and photograph).
However, there are negatives in that it is more difficult, time and cost consuming to
References: 1 CJ780_DL_Module1_Fall2012_FINAL.pdf
2 National Research Council. 2004. Fairness and Effectiveness in Police: The Evidence. Committee to Review Research on Police Policy and Practices, Wesley Skogan and Kathleen Frydl, (Eds.), Committee on Law and Justice, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington DC: The National Academies Press. Chapter 3 “The Nature of Policing in the United States” pgs. 47-107.
3 Walker, Samuel and Katz, Charles M. 2002. The history of American police. Chapter 2 (pps. 22-56) in The Police in America: An Introduction, Fourth Edition. Boston: McGraw Hill.
4 Kelling, George L. and Moore, Mark H. 1988. The evolving strategy of policing. Perspective on Policing, volume 4. Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice.
5 Wilson, James Q. and Kelling, George L. 1982. Broken windows: The police and neighborhood safety. The Atlantic Monthly, 29-38.
6 Walker, Samuel. 1984. "Broken Windows" and fractured history: The use and misuse of history in recent police patrol analysis. Justice Quarterly, 1:75-90.
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